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Thursday, 20 June 2013 (3039765)
Marcus speaks of 'hate crime' attack
by David Raven

X-FACTOR finalist Marcus Collins has joined forces with Merseyside Police to raise awareness about hate crime to pupils at his former school.

Marcus, 25, from Crosby, who came second in the 2011 X-Factor, was subjected to racial and homophobic abuse and physical assault by three men as he walked his dog last October.

He reported it to Merseyside Police and the force's anti-hate crime unit, known as Sigma, successfully investigated the attack.

Ben Shields, aged 22, from Litherland was arrested and charged with racially aggravated common assault, sentenced to four months at South Sefton Magistrates Court and given a five-year restraining order.

Marcus said: “I have been a victim of hate crime.

”I was discriminated against because of the colour of my skin and my sexuality.

“This should not be happening. It's 2013. We're  here to make a positive change and raise awareness that this is no longer acceptable. We are all equal.”

Last week a video featuring Marcus, Merseyside Police Chief Constable Jon Murphy, Dominique Walker, and members of various anti-hate crime organisations was shown for the first time to pupils at Sacred Heart school in Crosby, where Marcus once studied.

It will also be given to local councils across Merseyside to be shown in other schools as well as to the other emergency services, NHS organisations, charities and support groups in a bid to raise awareness of what a hate crime is and how someone can report it.

Chief Constable Jon Murphy, said: “Merseyside Police takes hate crime extremely seriously. We have specially-trained officers with experience in dealing with all types of hate crime.

”Hate crimes are under-reported but I want to reassure victims that reporting it doesn't mean you will have to go to court - there are other ways to deal with it.

“There is a great deal of support and advice available - please don't suffer in silence.”

Dominique Walker, whose brother Anthony was murdered in a racist attack in Huyton in 2004, also visited the school.

She added: “Anthony's murder devastated my family. We went to the police and they helped us obtain some sort of justice.

”Hate crime can be anything from physical attacks or initimidation to offensive graffiti and damage to your property or even bullying at school or in the workplace.

“I would encourage people to report it, if it happens to them. If you don't want to tell the police straightaway, you can report it to the Anthony Walker Foundation or Crime stoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. Don't be afraid - there are people out there who can help.”


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